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  CSPAN    Capital News Today    News/Business. News.  

    September 10, 2010
    11:00 - 2:00am EDT  

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i followed up with everyone on that mission. one of the is allowing me to share his story of reintegration with you. pick it covers many of the issues that we will be talking about today. in his words, my perspective is, the army is trying to take care of returning soldiers, but the ball gets dropped soon after returning home. the army pulls a way of checking the box was for me to allot a post-deployment questionnaire. i checked the box that i did want to be a combat stress better and when i got home. they asked by wanted to see a counselor. i said yes. i talked with a person for 30 minutes, and that was it. the army never followed through. this is in court and for me because i was in the national guard -- this is important for me because i was in the
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national guard. there were resources available in the pamphlet they gave me, but no post-deployment care for me to roll into, just a, thanks for serving, see ya. it took a crisis for me to break down and call the military hotline. they set up some recessions with the local councilor. the session did not turn out well. i still remember the shocked look on her face as i described the events during my deployment. she was totally unprepared to work with a combat that. he was a marriage counselor, not a combat stress counselor. no process to help the returned vet. if i had a leg blown off, there would have kept me on active duty until the medically boarded me. for some reason, they let go until the soldier gets into crisis mode, which can be too late for some.
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when i was in crisis mode dealings ptsd and try to seek help, i did not have the strength that times to care for myself. i remember my call to the center. i asked to talk with someone. they said a counselor will call you back in a few days. i hung up. it took me another week to get up the courage to call back and get the ball rolling. that helicopter pilot store represents what many of these troops and their families are going through, trying to reintegrate with unseen injuries. i asked about the medal of honor recipients and their families about the issues, and they say they want you to know that even some of them have had difficulties over the years. one said that many commute -- maybe communities need to be more aware of the stressors of ptsd so we can all deal with
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things such as suicide, substance abuse, marital relationship discord, and divorce rate. all of this requires changes, despite dod budget cutbacks and upcoming elections. that is why we are here today, to see what it working, what recommendations we can make for the troops and their families, and what commanders, leaders, policymakers, and communities can do to make the transition seamless. since i am a reporter, i am all about news you can use. on this panel, we have hand- selected amazing folks, each an expert in the runway on different angles of reintegration within the military and the civilian world. i am going to bounce around a little bit. out of courtesy, i like to start with our wounded warriors.
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front and center, we have michael. he is a recently retired wounded warrior. he has a long medical road ahead. as a former army ranger and sergeant first class, michael is adapting to this change in mission. between ongoing surgery's, he is speaking to troops about reintegration and suicide prevention, even going back to iraq, where he was hit by an ied to talk to troops. optimisticht iis his mother and full-time caregiver. they have been blessed because she says when you look at mike, she worries about those who have unseen injuries and their families in need help
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reintegrating. down on me and, we have -- down on the end, we have a former marine reservist. she brings a unique perspective on reintegration trade as a female wounded warrior, as a full-time student, and as eight men tore at her college helping other transitioning veterans. she struggles with tbi and is learning how to cope with life after the military. right next to her, we have mike. he works for the dod, va, and other charitable organizations. he has established private- public relationships and has cared for wounded warriors and
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their families. and he recently testified before the senate veterans' affairs committee about all this. lastly, he started the navy's safe harbor program. the very important. it coordinates the nonmedical care of wounded, killed, and injured sailers, coastguardsman, and their family members. it is for life. this includes a return to work program back into the civilian community and capt. watkins has of recommendations for folks to integrating and is talking about trying to get some government funded jobs for troops with pst to keep him going. we are going to start with mike and he will tell us a little bit
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about himself. we will kind of bounce around. >> i was injured in february of 2007 in the south of baghdad province and by an ied explosion. i was burned over 85% of my body. what we're talking about the reintegration process, i feel like there are many different processes or steps to that to reintegration. all you can think about is, how are my guys doing? are they able to continue the
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mission without me? it is important that we get our military units involved right off the get go. and have, not just military liaison coming in to see the soldiers, but to have those units send soldiers down and visit them in the hospital said they see a familiar faces. they get a feel that the military units is still considering them a part of the fight. after you get out of the hospital, the next step is getting back on your feet as an outpatient. that means go into your appointments, so that you become fungible, but it also means going back out into the world and into the population more people are going to look at you as a combat veteran or a guy that has been wounded. we have to set up things to get soldiers comfortable with being out in the world again.
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one main way we do that is through civilian organizations and nonprofits. they take them on fishing trips and hunting trips. it is not just for the pure enjoyment or because it is your hobby, and gets you out and about around people again. if you talking to others about everyday things again. that is very important. the government does a good job getting us back on her feet, but we have to rely on civilian organizations to help reintegrate as back in. after you start going to your points, at you will need to -- am i going to reintegrate back into the unit or will retire? for me, it was my choice to go ahead and retire. i started through the medical board process. they made some great changes.
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people who went to the board process in 2004, 2005, a 2006, on the old system, you hear a lot more horror stories about what they went through. being on the new program, it was slim down from the time i started it and the time i finished it was three months. i had my reading. -- rating. i really cannot complain and i will not complain about the system. in some ways, it is working. with that said, because you can see my injuries, the minute i walked in the room, i as his economy. -- eyes usually go on at me. there might be something -- somewhat a deeper condition. because they see my visible scars, i have to -- i use a did put in before them. it is not always on the outside.
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integrating back into civilian life is a scary thought. a specially if you have served two years -- especially if you have served two years and you knew that ollie wanted to do was to your 20 years and retire from the military. after two years of serving, you want to know what you are going to do. then you have those career professionals who spent 20 years and now they have to figure out, what am i going to do next? it is a scary world out there. one of the things we have to rely on is mentor ship, sponsorship. and not spent -- send these people out into the world without somebody was ready to back them out -- back them up. there are a lot of programs out there that are willing to do that. a lot of times, when you are going to the hospital transition, you have a billion the track -- case managers looking over your shoulder
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breading to do all of your bidding. i cannot even make my own appointments. i had somebody do in that -- i am someone doing that for me. in some cases, you do need to do that trade some of the younger soldiers may not want to do their own appointments. they may not be able to remember to do their own appointments. on an individual case, you will have to do that. there are several of us that you do not need to do that too. just because we are willing to spend does not mean we are not soldiers. -- just because we are wounded does not mean we are not soldiers. you have to stop calling them. -- calling to them. oftentimes, you will see guys to sit there and wait for the government to take care of them or wait for these programs to come find them. that is the wrong answer. we have to start pushing on these guys write up the get go
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that they need to be proactive and that if they think they have an issue, try to research it a little bit and find out those programs that can help them. there are a lot of programs. there are a lot of civilian organizations out there ready to step up in a heartbeat or did government can quite do it yet. we cannot expect the government to fix everything. we have to rely on support. a lot of the support we have are from the people sitting in the audience right here. i am very grateful for that. again, it is a team effort. everybody needs to be involved. for everybody that is involved, i am thankful. thank you. [applause] >> i am standing up here because i cannot see you. i would like to turn now to
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michael's mom. she has the care giver perspective. >> hello, everyone. i am so glad to be here. as a care giver, i very seldom get a chance to speak. i am the one behind michael. i am the one sitting in the corner waiting to do what he needs to have done. on february 27, a 2007, michael was injured. as a parent, i got the call that nobody wants to get. the call came quickly. it was in a matter of hours from the time of the incident. he was not even to baghdad by the time i got the call. he was still out in the war zone and proper. they had no clue. it took till march 2 for him to arrive at brooke army medical
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center. at that time, i was living in northern california and i was waiting. they did not know where to send me. i ended up at brooke army medical center can as a civilian, i can tell you that entering the army world is scary. i thought i knew my off of that, but their acronyms got me. the only thing i learned is that as a mom, i outrank a lot of people and i used it. i am very proactive. if i do not know something more i want something, i am not about asking for it. i will continue to ask until i get the answer that i want. or they quit talking to me, whichever comes first. for michael, it has been different for us. i do been called mom by many at
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brooke army medical center, by the younger soldiers who did not have the family or the spouse there to help them. i became the substitute. michael was in i c a 46 months. -- icu for 6 months. delimited visiting hours allow me time away from the hospital. i have seen all kinds of things. our younger ones need to be nurtured. they are still babies. they will hate me for this, but michael had 14 years in. we knew that eventually the law of averages said that something could happen. i prepared myself for this. of course, hoping that it would never happen. when you have someone who is 18, 19 years old, they are
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invincible. they are -- they do not believe that the world is going to reach up and bite them. when it does, it is unfathomable for them and they still need that mother figure, that nurturing. held by the hand and lead to things because left on their own accord, it is not fun. that is when the trouble starts. that is when the drinking start. that is when the other thing start. so we need to reach out and make sure that we not take them and carry them to their places, i am not saying that, but we need to gently show them the right direction. as far as me personally, as a wife of a service member who is injured or a wife of a service member. , as a wife, you have one set of
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rules. you have one set of benefits. as a mother, i am an outsider. michael is single. i stepped in. thank god i was able to. i feel for the parents who have small young children still at home and they are not able to step up the way i was. it was no choice for me but to step in because the alternative for michael would have been continued hospital care. it is a known fact that once a service member is released from the hospital into the care of a family member, they start improving quickly. the rate of recovery is so much faster. when michael was out of -- when he was released from the
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hospital, he was wheelchair- bound. his wound care took six hours. within six weeks, he was out of the wheelchair. his winter was down to about two hours. -- his wound care was about down to two hours. the transition from being active duty into retirement, i have not noticed it. to me, life goes on the same. i am grateful that i have a son like michael, because i have not had held insurance for three years, i have been unemployed for three years, he is taking care of me. that -- i cannot tell you what that means. we are not used to asking for handouts. we take care of our own. it is just been the way that we are. but there are others to really need the help.
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when you have an 18-year-old, you are likely to have small children still at home. when i left home at 18, had a younger brother nine years to under than me. i had won an elementary school, to a middle school, and one in high school. if the roles had been reversed and my parents had to come to help combat there is no way they would be able to. -- come up to help, there is no way they would be able to. all lot of times, we offer things, but is it what is needed? thank you. >> thank you very much. [applause] very important part of this discussion that sometimes gets overlooked. the caregivers also need care. i am going to turn down to the ins -- end.
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she brings a very unique perspective to this reintegration issue and unseen injuries issue. >> hello. i am thankful for the honor of speaking here today. i enlisted in the marine corps reserves in 2002 and graduated boot camp in january of 2003. i first deployed to iraq in august 2005 were i was did it --. during my deployment, i filled the role of everything from a driver to a machine gunner. idf firsthand experience that transitional generation of women veterans who had seen direct combat. my perspective on transitions takes on more of a gender perspective. fayed definitely considers more of the impact of being a woman
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-- it definitely considers more of the impact of being a woman. my transition also was a little hesitant. i was also -- i was not willing to admit that i had trouble falling my first corps, isolated myself. i started self medicating with alcohol and with other means. it took an intervention from my mother, who was willing to step up, she threatened to speak with my first sgt. you do not do that, for a marine. i spoke with a therapist who specialized in child abuse. i also had an experience with a therapist to was not necessarily prepared for the kind of stress i was under. it was not until i met dr. roger sure would -- surewood, who was
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spearheading a program, in which i found a purpose. i return to school and became a student veteran mentor and i now assist fellow veterans in their transition from the military lifestyle into the higher education livestock. -- lifestyle. my experience with transition is finding a purpose once you are out of the military can often lead to a more positive transition. it is definitely on going. one of the things i can admit is that my transition will -- it will continue for the rest of my life. that needs to be addressed with all veterans.
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the kind of experiences today's generation of service members are going through is not going to go away. denial might stamp itself for a little bit, but it is always going to come back. oftentimes, it will be exacerbated the less attention it gets. one of the things i am trying to address with my a veterans group at hunter college is an extension of the battle body system from the military to the civilian life style because in the military, veterans -- we learn how to be reliant upon ourselves. but also to rely on the team. taking that experience and extending it into the civilian life style make sure that that ongoing process of transition, one that will go under the rest
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of their lives, is given the attention it needs. >> i wanted to -- you are struggling with 8 tb iowa -- tbi injury and coming to terms of that as well. >> i waited until i was basically out of the marine corps to address my medical issues -- ptsd, tbi. i am currently preserving a disability claim. i did not want to be labeled. there is this pervasive sense of -- we are somehow damaged. that we will no longer be fit to for living in society. early on in my career, i did not
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want to be associated with that. i denied that i had ptsd. i did not want to let an event that my continued memory and balance issues were result of being near concuss the forces. ncussive forces. it makes me a little more familiar with the reticence of my fellow veterans. i can encourage them through my own experiences to not let those symptoms exacerbate and make it harder to seek treatment. it is also a confidence thing. the longer you wait, the less competency will have to seek that treatment. >> that is where mike comes in as president of the brain injury
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association in michigan. you have been addressing some of these things. >> thank you very much. i would like to the think the u.s. naval institute and military officers association for the opportunity to be part of your conference today. believe me, it is a huge honor and privilege for me to be sitting among the people that are flanking me as well. i am very humbled. i must tell you, as i look around the room and realized some many of you are in the military or recently retired or still have some capacity with the military, this is probably the greatest military audience i have been around since my days when i was a captain in the field artillery in europe. i never thought i would have this chance again, but it is
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great to be here with you. i come to this whole issue by way of two reasons. one, by nature of my job. i think underlying it is because of my father. he was a world war ii that's and was one of the early ones that was diagnosed with 100% this ability rating for ptsd in the late 1960's. that was very, very difficult to come by for him. like folks above mentioned already, it is hard for any veteran to acknowledge what issues they may be dealing with. it was for my father, who was -- a surge in the marines -- to serve in the marines. he could not hold a job and it
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created a lot of issues within our family. it was a constant battle. how did not been for a of be a counselor, who personally took his fight through the system to get candy disability rating, his life would not have been even near as good as dead what it ultimately was. -- good as what it ultimately was. part of that answer was to pump him with drugs and make can effectively a zombie, compliant, complacent, and just to handle these issues in a very low-key way for the remainder of his life. when he and my mother moved into a nursing facility, retirement center, my dad ended up in an assisted living area and one of the first things he -- they did was backing off the drugs.
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he has enough drugs in him to kill a horse. what is going on here? over time, they backed him off of the drugs. the last four of his -- four years of his life, he had the best quality of life that he had enjoyed since >> there is a lot of good that goes on. reentry association, i am talking with a parochial view, it is one of 44 state would suggestnd i was you keep that name in mind. it could serve as a resource for those of you that live in other states or even around the immediate washington area.
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our association is one of four or five that it embraces or tried to erase the veterans' issues. we have created a program. i would invite you to me with him to learn about what he is doing personally. he is very passionate about care of our veterans and as the surgeon mentioned earlier, the need for recreational opportunities is paramount and what rick is doing, he is advocating for their behalf. we have connections at the center along with the michigan department of military affairs. finally, one of the key things that has brought us to washington is to come up to capitol hill and talk to some of
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our senators from the michigan congressional delegation and represent about the serious needs that our veterans have. one thing i would like to mention, to put this session perhaps in a little bit better understanding, is brain injury is new. the word traumatic brain injury was not even recognized effectively until iraq and afghanistan. however, to give you a sense of just telling you it is, for some of you who have as much greater care is me, you might recall that president reagan's press secretary being shot in washington. that day marked the first day of brain injury rehabilitation as we know it.
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prior to that, 50% of those who sustained a brain injury ended up in nursing homes and the other 50% died. i tell you that because when we talk about stigma and societal change, we're talking about something that is still new in the public's mind. it is going to take time for that to change. just as it did for breast cancer. as i grew up, no one spoke about breast cancer in. if anything, they called it "the c". that is where we are with brain injury. let me wrap it up. with all the tremendously good programs that perhaps many of you represent in this room, the fact is, in my opinion at least, you cannot do it all.
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it will not be achieved in the veterans care -- and the veterans care won't get better until we have opened the doors to getting and working with all the assets that are out there. to give you a case in point. michigan has over 10,000 workers in the brain injury rehabilitation field. just in michigan. what is it in your state? i daresay you do not know. i would invite you to find out. michigan is blessed to have such a huge industry of brain injury burrehabilitation. bottom-line is, we are unique to be certain. the bottom line is, there are four more assets out there outside the d.a. then within the
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va -- outside the va than within the va. to hearken back to the earlier comments, it is time that there is a sense of urgency. this war is over nine years old. it is too long to still be sitting here talking about this. we need to move and move with great speed. if i were empowered, if i were on the planning committee for the u.s. naval institute for next year's conference, i would say let's parade of 500 of us who attended this year's conference and report what we did. what difference did we make? i will leave you with that as the challenge. >> as someone who's trying to
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do everything, you will get every possibility, every asset. you will look outside the box. everyone who is here is trying to accomplish the same mission. i have been given the awesome responsibility and the tremendous privilege to take care of the navy's and the coast guard's injured. it is a very large job. as has been said before, i cannot do it by myself. it takes everybody to work together towards the same and, for us to be able to accomplish it. when i got the job, i met dr.
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linda davis who is sitting over here. she accused me of being a doctor. i am not a doctor. i had no qualifications in medicine. in my opinion, that makes me eminently qualified. i see it as nothing more than what we call leadership 101. the basic essence of what leaders do, take care of their service members. the chief petty officer is responsible to take care of his sailors who work for him. that is what we do. the difference is we do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. my people get really good at it. the become experts. what we do is provide a lifetime of individually tailored assistance for the service member and their family. every single one of these young men and women come back, they
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have a different problem. they have a different set of circumstances. we have to tailor what we do differently for every single one of them. we do that by talking to them. by sitting down and understanding what their needs are. i have been in the navy almost 35 years. i have had a lot of different jobs. i am a naval aviator by trade and before, i was a deep sea diver. when i had a job, i would call am a m up and say i wa deep sea diver. when i got this job, i did not really know what to tell her. i thought about it and the only thing i could come up with this concierge service. after that much time in the navy, you do not want to call your mother and say i make concierge.
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-- i am a concierge. it says five-star concierge service. if the marine colonel can call himself one, so can i.. the thing about this is my staff gets mad at me. i say we do not do anything. we just make things -- make sure things get done. we do not provide any services. what that means is i do not own anything within -- other than a handful of people who sit down and work with sailors and coastguardsman. we have recreation to help with the things they do. we have made the family's -- family service centers to take care of the family stuff.
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nady medicine takes care of the care. we orchestrate what is going on between all these organizations. i do not own any of the benefits. the benefits come from the va. i do have a lawyer but he does not have any control over making anything happen in the legal field. he can justify as leon how we get it done best. we tried to look at everything holistic cleave from beginning to end. and make sure that all of their needs are properly assessed and all their needs are being met. the critical thing is it takes every single one of you for us to be successful. i always say that i partner with anybody who is willing to do something for a sailor or coast guardsmen. we work closely with the va and
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the department of labour. it has -- [unintelligible] we're working on different projects such as job coaches for folks with ptsd because it is hard. if you can focus 15 minutes out of every hour, that is good if you have ptsd. if your employer and you need an hour's work, it is tough to get that. a job coach can help someone along with that and get more bang for the buck for the employer. the young sailor or coast guardsmen or soldier or airman or marine will be able to put in more than 15 minutes an hour of work and focus. one of the things that keeps me up at night is a handoff from d od care to va care. when a coastguardsman leaves the
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service, are we pushing him out the door? the first think is we enrolled our guys and gals for life. we're always going to be available for them, as long as it takes. when the reintegrate into the local community, we cannot sit down in front of them and be with them on a regular basis and make sure everything is going well. you have to look at a guy in the eye and see what is going on in his head to know what kind of help they need. i came up with this program. is the -- it is the anchor program. it is like this sponsor program. if you get orders overseas, you get off the plane and someone takes you to the temporary lodging facility and help you get checked in and they meet you the next morning and sure your around and introduce you to people, take you to your job and
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so on. my concern was the seyler was getting off the proverbial bus with their sea bag over their shoulder and the bus drives away and there is no one to meet them. we decided to come up with a mentor program. the other thing that concerned me about having a mentor is, i have a lot of volunteers who work older retirees like i'm going to be in the near future. our guys are 25 or 26 or 27 years old. they're not going to want to hang out with me. i decided that we need to find a near peer individual. the other thing that concerned me was retirees. i have no command or control over them. they do not have to tell me anything. i went looking for the navy reserve tell me and they volunteered.
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we're pairing a reservist with a retiree like me. and assigning them to a sailor who is transitioning into the local community. they are there to tell them where the good shopping is and where to go to church, where to meet their needs and help that person find a job or if the sailor or coastie is not able to work, maybe the spouse or the mother needs a job. it is an all-around win-win. the other thing we do is we partner with organizations like quality of life foundation. unique organization. they focus on families.
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families that are in the community. integrating back into the local community. if you are a spouse of by warrior and you need time to go to the commissary or go grocery shopping, they will make arrangements to help you do that. they will spend time with your wounded warrior so you can do that. if you need the grass cut and you do not have time, they will help you find someone to cut the grass. we work with a lot of organizations. we work with a group called the mission continues. it is an outstanding organization. a lot of the still have a lot left to give back to our country. we're not necessarily ready to hang up our guns. we may want to do something else but we cannot serve in the military anymore. we can serve our country somehow. the mission helps facilitate that by giving internships with
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a small stipend to help offset some of the cost. you can give back. we have guys who are helping train service dogs to go to other wounded warriors. we have guys and gals who are working with veterans or wounded warriors on rehabilitating horseback riding. i have one young gentleman, a former marine who is working for us. all he does is sit and listen to people talk. he sits down with our sailors and coasties and lets them get things off their chest and he listens. it is a great organization. there are other fantastic organizations like nady safe harbor who is focused on supporting the folks enrolled in my program. silber 5 fund is another great organization.
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we have navy marine corps relief society and the list goes on. america is behind us in accomplishing our mission. we could not do without you. do not quit now. >> thank you. since we're trying to be forward-looking, i want to know from each of our panel members f you could change one thing, that would help folks with unseen injuries go through the process, whether it is in the military or the civilian community, what would you change? i will go through the line. >> in my case, i would try to change some approach to women veterans. the women who are among the wounded warriors, women have to toe that masculine-feminine
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mind. they have to take on a lot of qualities that society -- in society would seem masculine in order to be successful. they have to lift more and keep up with the guys. the numbers are different for the branches. in the marine corps, the number is women are outnumbered 12 to one. we are always competing against those gender norms, whether or not there right. there is a lot of habits that would inform in the military, that will extend into their civilian linelives. we are still outnumbered in the va system. that will give us a sense of disadvantage. we're going to feel like it did not have as much attention. also in general, society does
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not equate women with veterans. when you say veteran the average pedestrian they're going to envisioned a well built man with a crewcut or fade that fulfills that stereotype. when i'm walking down the street, it is not assumed i served in the military. if there is one thing i could change, it is just that society line of what constitutes a veteran. where to the consideration of who is a veteran and who is injured, where should that line be drawn? there really should not be on line. also, that invisible injuries -- it is sometimes difficult in the va to make it aware i have
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issues. it is getting better. the va has great things going for. the new york harbor veterans campuses are creating women's clinics. there should be more pre-and postnatal care available. pregnant veterans to have to shop out to other facilities which comply with the system, which makes it more difficult. it was mentioned earlier, child care services. also, one that people do not think is -- think of is dental care. combat veterans returning to the states have three months and limited dental care. when it is exhausted, if they do not have 100% service connected disability, they have to pay out of pocket for dental care.
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that not only requires a visit to the primary care physician to be reviewed and given an appointment, it is a $200 charge just for a standard cleaning. if you need any other special care, that is out of pocket. dental care is becoming a vital part of overall health with veterans. ptsd. i grind my teeth that night and require a night guard. until i get reviewed with my disability claim and i get 100%, i can get fitted for a night guard without having to pay for. -- pay for it. it is general considerations like that. if society could wake up and except that women are saying combat, that would be great. >> thank you. i will go to michael.
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i would like to have the other wounded warrior perspective. what can be changed and i know you have been talking with troops about suicide prevention and how can we try to move forward? >> the answer to both those things as education. as far as the people with the unseen injuries, it is educating our military and our wtu's and wvt's. educating everybody. we have such great resources. oftentimes, the media puts a spin on it. if we can educate people, these are the injuries that are coming out of iraq and afghanistan. these are the injuries that our soldiers are facing. people will be able to tell a little bit more. ask the people, did you -- if
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they're off, and if they are taking time paying at the convenience store. be patient. try to be understanding. maybe even ask about it. they might want to tell you. do not just stare. it is just basic education. as far as the suicide prevention, that is a pretty hot topic. i do a little work with a the va on suicide prevention. i made sure that every time, usually about twice day we sit down with the soldiers. i always made sure to bring it up. you got to bring it before and during and after the deployment. it comes down to something as simple as children. look to the left and look to your right. those are the guys were going through it with you. those are the guys who can help you the most.
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if you feel more comfortable going to a chaplain or more comfortable going to a psychiatrist, great. go for. no one will understand it. -- understand it better than the people who are going through with iyou. they might have issues. these guys -- to have worked out the issues without taking a second look. with looking to the left and right, if you see that other guy going down, it is your responsibility to pick him up. there is a story in the paper. i wish i could remember the soldier's name. he had a roommate who he felt was going down and nothing he could do was working. the kid had left the room and he took the firing pin out of his rifle. sure enough, that night, the roommate had tried to commit suicide but had no firing pin.
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it is simple things. reach out and try to understand and give somebody help. i think we can narrow this down a little bit. education again. before, during, and after deployment. >> thank you. i want to go to your battle buddy on your right. what would you change to help care givers and for folks years from now? >> i think today, we have started in the progression of change. because it takes one step at a time and it is never as fast as we wanted to be. if i had any wish, it would be it was already over and we had it set up. i know that those who have come after me have reaped benefits
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and those who have come before them. if each one of us have our pet project and we leave our footsteps they're so that the next person does not have to follow exactly in our steps, they can take detours around things. we have done our job. i hope that everyone will always ask if there is a need. if you want to do something, ask them. what can i do for you? do not assume that you know what they need. if you are only able to -- your handshake is all you have to offer, give that to them. i found that a lot of times, people assume they know what i need. they assume they know what is good for me. they assume i'm going to fit
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into that box. when i do not fit in, they are thrown off. they do not know what to do with me. i think if we stop assuming we know what is best for everybody, look to those who walk the walk. they know exactly what is needed and what should be happening. as far as those -- 22 reach out to everyone. it does not matter if they are military. if they're having a bad day, there is no reason we cannot say hello and give them a smile. maybe that is the one thing that will change everything for them that day. as far as being non-seen injuries. one of my young guys -- i call him mind, he will be forever mine now. his mother has to share custody.
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he was shot in a place where you're not going to see it. the wound healed and you are not going to notice the injury. it is not that he was not injured. six weeks old.is do not assume he has always had a nose. i have noticed how people changed their reaction. now he does not look the same period before he had no nose. you notice him and everyone reached out to him. everyone wanted their picture taken with the guy with no nose. now, he has got a nose. he ius not so unusual. we cannot assume and we need to
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ask. thank you. >> thank you. i want to turn to your right. something that you deal with and tried to change is these unseen injuries and how people are coping with them or what can we change to make it easier for people in the future? >> let me tail in for a second. have been the head ouf our association. that was one of the first comments i heard. it is the fact that people look at me, they assumed i am ok. they do not know how i have changed. it is the toughest of all
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things for people with brain injuries to deal with. let me take that a step further. i would ask everyone of you in this room, because i believe this ties into this conference topic. .
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i did not notice until a couple of years ago. people do not automatically go
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into the system. let me they are out a number. only 1/3 of them are registered with the va. one third. so, i want to suggest if we are struggling to keep the people who are not within a va system, can only imagine if we start to capture all of those that are eligible? >> i would challenge the va. the va cannot handle all of the needs of the soldiers. period. it cannot. i do not care how many buildings to build or how many people you hire, you are not going to do it. bottom line, let's start using the assets that are within the
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local community. i understand the va's been mandated by congress to take care of the soldiers. i am not suggesting they had changed. i am suggesting they exercise it in olive the resources available and utilize them and monitor the soldiers process within the system. >> i'm going to ask capt. what sends. what can the by using these assets. >> it takes everyone out here to accomplish our mission. we do work diligently with anybody who is willing to help a sailor or a coastie. that have access to me, my program, and my people. you talk about things you a
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change of the press the "easy close " button. the speed of change that you brought up. nothing ever goes as fast as i would like it to. i in a pilot. i do not see a way to fix that. it takes some time to get things right. we can keep our place on the organization's to force change to occur faster on its of a court. we will not get where we need to be when we need to be there. the other critical thing that i pink is really important that i will change if i had a magic wand is people. and what makes any organization successful and what it does is the quality and caliber of the people that are in the organization.
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their desire to serve. and their desire to accomplish warmest and -- their mission. my challenge is selecting the very best folks to be a part of my organization has had and then retaining them. it is very difficult -- we do a one-of-a-kind mission in the navy. nobody in the navy comes in the navy to the specialized in taking care of wounded and built shoulders on the non-medical side. -- wounded soldiers on the non- medical side. it is not detrimental to your career. it is potentially dangerous unless they are an old guy to
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me and then you have nothing to lose. a young guy who is outstanding will be detrimental. we need to make sure that we have a means that we are not turning people's careers both civilians or military so we maintain and attract the very best. lawyers are great employees. they have been there. they know what is going on. frankly, not all of them want to do this. they want to go off and do something else. a half to utilize the resources the we have available. >> thank you. thank you very much. for everybody on our panel, i thought that everybody had such an important point of view on this panel allegis let them have all the time to be able to tell their stories in the kind of
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recommendations and things that they can offer on this whole reintegration process. i encourage you to seek them out and ask personal questions. these are just great poets. as they go through this reintegration process, something that came to mind to me that i think applies to everybody, there was a quote from my late mentor bob howard. he told me, and i think this applies to everybody, that "when it is obvious that the goal cannot the reach, do not adjust the goal, i just the action." thank you also met for being part of this report -- this
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important discussion. thank you to our great panel. [applause] >> thank you, thank you for your leadership and example. how about one more round of applause? [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> next, president obama talks about the economy and other issues. after that, transfer texture -- transportation secretary ray lahood outlined pilot fatigue. tomorrow on "washington journal"
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robert from the parking foundation talks about the proposed a infrastructure bank and how it could change how the u.s. invests in an for structure. former cia deputy chief bruce klinger previews the upcoming meeting of north korean delegate and what it could mean for their political climate. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> sam yougman held the first news conference since may. this comes on the heels of new economic initiatives on wednesday. , but he is been talking about the economy? what did he have to say? >commerce returns to session net
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week. was there anything in his remarks about the economy that might get members to move ahead on his economic program? >> it looks like you will see some movement on the small business tax cut and loans package after center boy in a bitch regional -- senator bone a bit -- bonavich spa. there has not signed a bill of a republican support. >> city suburb of how it is being received from the nation? >> it knowledge that it is still controversial.
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he acknowledged it is not doing anything to stop the cost curve right now. he had taken time. it is a good policy. it is being implemented. >> it was a rwide ranging interview. a series of talks under way last three. in remarks? >> he continues to be hopeful. if these fail, we will keep trying. that is what he said. he did not seem overly confident.
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it became one of the hotter topics for the president today. he repeated that it does not reflect american values to burn the sacred text of one religion or another. he references and christian faith, saying he understands how it can inspire passion. he lives at his most passionate today. he was talking about muslim americans. he is very passionate in his defense and not making it a case of us versus them. >> you can read sam youngman online at the hill.cm. we thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> president obama suggests there may be enough republican support to pass a small-business
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bill when congress returns since the. he confirmed austin will be the next chairman of the advisers. other topics include the florida pastor who was threatened to burn the koran saturday. this is about one hour and 20 minutes of th before i take your questions, i just want to talk a little bit about our continuing efforts to dig ourselves out of this recession and to grow our economy. as i said in cleveland on wednesday, i ran for president because i believed the policies of the previous decade had left our economy weaker and our middle class struggling. they were policies that cut taxes, especially for
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millionaires and billionaires, cut regulations for corporations and for special interests, and left everyone else pretty much fending for themselves. they were policies that ultimately culminated in a financial crisis and a terrible recession that we are still digging out of today. we came into office with a different view about how our economy should work. instead of tax cuts for millionaires, we believe in cutting taxes for middle-class families and small business owners. we have done that. instead of letting corporations play by their own rules, we believe in making sure that businesses treat workers well and consumers friendly, and play by the same rules as everyone else. so we've put in place common- sense rules that accomplish that. instead of tax breaks that encourage corporations to create jobs overseas, we believe in tax breaks for companies that create jobs right here in the united states of america. and so we've begun to do that. we believe in investments that
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will make america more competitive in the global economy: investments in education and clean energy, in research and technology. and we're making those investments. so these are the principles that have guided us over the last 19 months. and these are the principles that form the basis of the additional economic proposals that i offered this week. because even though the economy is growing again, and we've added more than 750,000 private sector jobs this year, the hole the recession left was huge and progress has been painfully slow. millions of americans are still looking for work. millions of families are struggling to pay their bills or the mortgage. and so these proposals are meant to both accelerate job growth in the short term and strengthen the economy in the long run. these proposals include a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to
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companies for all the research and innovation that they do here in america. and i've proposed that all american businesses should be allowed to write off all the investments they do in 2011. this will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in our economy. we also announced a six-year plan to rebuild america's roads and railways and runways. already our investments in infrastructure are putting folks in the construction industry back to work. and this plan would put thousands more back to work, and it would help us remain competitive with countries in europe and asia that have already invested heavily in projects like high-speed railroads. but one thing we can do next week is end a month-long standoff on a small business
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jobs bill that's been held up in the senate by a partisan minority. i realize there are plenty of issues in washington where people of good faith simply disagree on principle. this should not and is not one of those issues. this is a bill that does two main things: it gives small business owners tax cuts, and it helps them get loans. it will eliminate capital gains taxes for key investments in 1 million small businesses. it will provide incentives to invest and create jobs for 4 million small businesses. it will more than double the amount some small business owners can borrow to grow their companies. it's a bill that's paid for, a bill that won't add to the deficit. it has been written by democrats and republicans. it's a bill that's been praised by the chamber of commerce. and yet a minority of republican senators have been using legislative tactics to prevent the bill from even getting to a vote.
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now, i was pleased to see that yesterday, republican senator george voinovich of ohio said he would refuse to support this blockade any longer. senator voinovich said, "this country is really hurting," and "we don't have time anymore to play games." i could not agree more. i understand there's an election coming up. but the american people didn't send us here to think about our jobs. they sent us here to think about theirs. and there are small businesses right now who are putting off plans to hire more workers because this bill is stalled. that's not the kind of leadership this country deserves. and i hope we can now move forward to get small business owners the relief they need to start hiring and growing again. and while we're on the subject of economics, i also want to make an announcement about my economic team. this week,
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christina romer returned to berkeley after a tireless, outstanding tenure as chair of the council of economic advisers. christy is brilliant, she is dedicated, and she was part of the team that helped save this country from a depression. so we're going to miss her dearly. but today, i'm happy to announce austan goolsbee as her replacement. austan has been one of my good friends and close economic advisors for many years. he's one of the finest economists in the country, and he's worked as a member of the council of economic advisers since we arrived here in washington. he's not just a brilliant economist, he's someone who has a deep appreciation of how the economy affects everyday people, and he talks about it in a way that's easily understood. he already knows and works with the rest of the team very well. i have complete confidence he's going to do an outstanding job as cea chair. and finally, tomorrow we will commemorate not only the
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heartbreak of september 11th, but also the enduring values and resilient spirit of america. both michelle and i will be joining our fellow citizens in remembering those who were lost on that day and honoring all who exhibited such extraordinary heroism in the midst of tragedy. i'll have further remarks tomorrow, but for now let me just note that tomorrow is a national day of service and remembrance and i hope each of us finds a way to serve our fellow citizens -- not only to reaffirm our deepest values as americans, but to rekindle that spirit of unity and common purpose that we felt in the days that followed that september morning. and now i'd be happy to take some questions, and i'm going to start with darlene superville of ap. >> thank you, mr. president. you said this week that
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democrats wouldn't do well in the november elections if it turns out to be a referendum on the economy. but with millions of people out of work and millions of people losing their homes, how could it not be a referendum on the economy and your handling of it, and why would you not welcome that? >> well, the -- what i said was that if it was just a referendum on whether we've made the kind of progress that we need to, then people around the country would say we're not there yet. if the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that will get us back into a mess, then i think the democrats will do very well. and here's why. as i just indicated, middle- class families had been struggling for a decade, before i came into office. their wages and incomes had flat-lined. they were seeing the cost of everything from health care to
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sending their kids to college going up. job growth was the weakest of any economic expansion between 2001 and 2008 since world war ii. the pace was slower than it's been over the last year. so these policies of cutting taxes for the wealthiest americans, of stripping away regulations that protect consumers, running up a record surplus to a record deficit -- those policies finally culminated in the worst financial crisis we've had since the great depression. and for 19 months, what we have done is steadily worked to avoid a depression, to take an economy that was contracting rapidly and making it grow again; a situation where we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, and now we've had eight consecutive
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months of private sector job growth; and made investments that are going to strengthen the economy over the long term. but we're not there yet. we lost 4 million jobs in the six months before i was sworn in, and we lost 8 million jobs total during the course of this recession. that is a huge hole to dig ourselves out of. and people who have lost their jobs around the country and can't find one, moms who are sending out resumes and not getting calls back, worried about losing homes and not being able to pay bills -- they're not feeling good right now. and i understand that. and i ran precisely because i did not think middle-class families in this country were getting a fair shake. and i ran because i felt that we had to have a different economic philosophy in order to grow that
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middle class and grow our economy over the long term. now, for all the progress we've made, we're not there yet. and that means that people are frustrated and that means people are angry. and since i'm the president and democrats have controlled the house and the senate, it's understandable that people are saying, what have you done. but between now and november, what i'm going to remind the american people of is that the policies that we have put in place have moved us in the right direction, and the policies that the republicans are offering right now are the exact policies that got us into this mess. it's not a situation where they went and reflected, and said to themselves, you know what, we didn't do some things right and so we've got a whole bunch of new ideas out here that we want to present to you that we think are going to help put us on the path of strong growth -- that's not what happens.
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the chairman of their committee has said, we would do the exact same things as we did before obama took office. well, we know where that led. and a perfect example is the debate we're having on taxes right now. i have said that middle-class families need tax relief right now. and i'm prepared to work on a bill and sign a bill this month that would ensure that middle- class families get tax relief. ninety-seven percent of americans make less than $250,000 a year -- $250,000 a year or less. and i'm saying we can give those families -- 97 percent permanent tax relief. and by the way, for those who make more than $250,000, they'd still get tax relief on the first $250,000; they just wouldn't get it for income above that.
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now, that seems like a common- sense thing to do. and what i've got is the republicans holding middle-class tax relief hostage because they're insisting we've got to give tax relief to millionaires and billionaires to the tune of about $100,000 per millionaire, which would cost over the course of 10 years, $700 billion, and that economists say is probably the worst way to stimulate the economy. that doesn't make sense, and that's an example of what this election is all about. if you want the same kinds of skewed policies that led us to this crisis, then the republicans are ready to offer that. but if you want policies that are moving us out, even though you may be frustrated, even though change isn't happening as fast as you'd like, then i
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think democrats are going to do fine in november. caren. >> thank you, mr. president. you're looking for republican help on the economic proposals that you unveiled this week, and you also mentioned the small business bill. but you're at odds with them over tax cuts. is there room for a middle ground whereby, for example, the tax cuts on the wealthy could be extended for a period of time, and then allowed to expire? >> well, certainly there is going to be room for discussion. my hope is, is that on this small business bill that is before the senate right now, that we actually make some progress. i still don't understand why we didn't pass that two months ago. as i said, this was written by democrats and republicans. this is a bill that traditionally you'd probably get 90 percent or 100 percent
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republican support. but we've been playing politics for the last several months. and if the republican leadership is prepared to get serious about doing something for families that are hurting out there, i would love to talk to them. now, on the high-income tax cuts, my position is let's get done what we all agree on. what they've said is they agree that the middle class tax cut should be made permanent. let's work on that. let's do it. we can have a further conversation about how they want to spend an additional $700 billion to give an average of $100,000 to millionaires. that, i think, is a bad idea. if you were going to spend that money, there are a lot better ways of spending it. but more to the point, these are the same folks who say that they're concerned about the deficits.
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why would we borrow money on policies that won't help the economy and help people who don't need help? but setting that aside, we've got an area of agreement, which is, let's help families out there who are having a tough time. as i said, we could, this month, give every american certainty and tax relief up to $250,000 a year. every single american would benefit from that. now, people who make $250,000 a year or less, they'd benefit on all their income. people who make a million dollars would benefit on a quarter of their income. but the point is, is that that's something that we can all agree to. why hold it up? why hold the middle class hostage in order to do something that most economists
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don't think makes sense? >> so are you ruling out a deal with republicans on tax cuts for the wealthiest? >> what i'm saying is let's do what we agreed to and that the americans -- people overwhelmingly agreed to, which is let's give certainty to families out there that are having a tough time. chip reid. >> thank you, mr. president. on the economic package that you rolled out earlier this week, first on the business tax cuts. why did you wait until this superheated campaign season to roll it out? a lot of your critics and even some democrats say, well, clearly he's just using this for political purposes, he doesn't have any expectation it's actually going to be passed, it's a political weapon.
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why did you wait so long to bring that out? and on the stimulus part, we can't get people in the white house to say it is a stimulus -- $50 billion for roads and other infrastructure, but they avoid the word "stimulus" like the plague. is that because the original stimulus is so deeply unpopular? and if so, why is it so unpopular? >> well, let me -- let me go back to when i first came into office. we had an immediate task, which was to rescue an economy that was tipping over a cliff. and we put in place an economic plan that 95 percent of economists say substantially helped us avoid a depression. a third of those were tax cuts, by the way. a third of that economic plan was tax cuts for individuals and for small businesses. so we haven't -- this notion that we waited until now to put forward a series of plans, chip, we've -- just on the small business issue alone, we have
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cut taxes for small businesses eight times during the course of the last 18 months. so we're hardly johnnie-come- latelys on this issue. now, when you put all the things we've done together, it has made a difference. three million people have jobs that wouldn't have them otherwise had we not taken these steps. the economy would be in much worse shape. but as i said before, we're not where we need to go yet -- which means that if we're not there yet, what else can we do? and the proposals that we've put forward are ones that historically, again, have garnered bipartisan support: a research and development tax credit so that companies that are investing in research here in the united states -- which is part of what's going to keep us growing and keep us innovative -- let's make sure that companies are strongly incentivized to do that. making sure that their expensing accelerated business
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depreciation is happening in 2011, so that if companies are sort of sitting on the sidelines right now, not sure whether they should invest, let's give them incentive to go ahead and invest now to give that a jumpstart. on infrastructure, we've got a highway bill that traditionally is done every six years. and what we're saying is let's ramp up what we're doing, let's beef it up a little bit -- because we've got this infrastructure all across the country that everybody from governors to mayors to economists to engineers of all political stripes have said is holding us back in terms of our long-term competitiveness -- let's get started now rebuilding america. and in terms of paying for some of these things, let's stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas, let's stop incentivizing that. let's give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the united states of america.
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those are all common-sense approaches. historically, as you know, you've been around this town for a long time -- usually, republicans and democrats agree on infrastructure. usually, republicans and democrats agree on making sure that research and development investments are made right here in the united states. and so let's get it done. it has nothing to do with the notion that somehow what we did previously didn't work. it worked. it just hasn't done as much as we need it to do. we've still got a long ways to go and we're going to keep on doing it. >> so this is a second stimulus? [laughter] >> here's how i would -- there is no doubt that everything we've been trying to do -- everything we've been trying to do is designed to stimulate growth and additional jobs in the economy.
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i mean, that's our entire agenda. so i have no problem with people saying the president is trying to stimulate growth and hiring. isn't that what i should be doing? i would assume that's what the republicans think we should do, to stimulate growth and jobs. and i will keep on trying to stimulate growth and jobs for as long as i'm president of the united states. hans nichols. >> thank you, mr. president. [inaudible] -- i'll ask my real question. it's now been more than two months since the financial reg reform bill has passed. a centerpiece of that was what you talked about as a consumer financial protection bureau. and yet you haven't named a head. is elizabeth warren still a leading candidate? and if not, are you worried about some sort of senate hurdle for her confirmation? thank you. >> this is a great opportunity
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to talk to the american people about what i do think is going to be hugely helpful to middle- class families in the years and decades to come, and that is an agency that has been set up, an independent agency, whose sole job is to protect families in their financial transactions. so if you are getting a credit card, we are going to have an agency that makes sure that that credit card company can't jack up your rates without any reason -- including on old balances. and that could save american consumers tens of billions of dollars just in the first couple of years. if you are out there looking for a mortgage -- and we all know that part of the problem with the financial crisis was that folks were peddling mortgages that were unstable, that had these huge balloon payments that people didn't fully understand well. now there's going to be some
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oversight in terms of how mortgages are shaped, and people are going to actually have to know what they're getting and what they're buying into. that's going to protect the economy, as well as individual consumers. so this agency i think has the capacity to really provide middle-class families the kind of protection that's been lacking for too long. now, the idea for this agency was elizabeth warren's. she's a dear friend of mine. she's somebody i've known since i was in law school. and i have been in conversations with her. she is a tremendous advocate for this idea. it's only been a couple of months, and this is a big task standing up this entire agency, so i'll have an announcement soon about how we're going to move forward. and i think what's fair to say is, is that i have had conversations with elizabeth over the course of
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these -- over these last couple of months. but i'm not going to make an official announcement until it's ready. >> are you unofficially concerned about a senate confirmation? >> i'm concerned about all senate confirmations these days. i mean, if i nominate somebody for dog catcher -- >> but with respect to elizabeth warren, are you -- >> hans, i wasn't trying to be funny. i am concerned about all senate nominations these days. i've got people who have been waiting for six months to get confirmed who nobody has an official objection to and who were voted out of committee unanimously, and i can't get a vote on them. we've got judges who are pending. we've got people who are waiting to help us on critical issues like homeland security. and it's very hard when you've got a determined minority in the senate that insists on a 60- vote filibuster on every single
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person that we're trying to confirm, even if after we break the filibuster, it turns out that they get 90 votes. they're just playing games. and as i think senator voinovich said very well, it's time to stop playing games. all right. chuck todd. >> given the theme, i think, of all of your answers, i've just got a short question for you. how have you changed washington? >> well, i'll tell you how we've changed washington. prior to us getting here, as i indicated before, you had a set of policies that were skewed toward special interests, skewed towards the most powerful, and ordinary families out there were being left behind. and since we've gotten here, whether it's making sure that folks who can't get health
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insurance because of preexisting condition can now get health insurance, or children who didn't have coverage now have coverage; whether it's making sure that credit card companies have to actually post in understandable ways what your credit card rates are and they can't jack up existing balances in arbitrary ways; whether it's making sure that we've got clean water and clean air for future generations; whether it's making sure that tax cuts go to families that need it as opposed to folks who don't -- on a whole range of issues over the last 18 months, we've put in place policies that are going to help grow a middle class and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth. now, if you're asking why
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haven't i been able to create a greater spirit of cooperation in washington, i think that's fair. i'm as frustrated as anybody by it. i think part of it has to do with the fact that when we came into office, we came in under very tough economic circumstances, and i think that some of the republican leaders made a decision, we're going to sit on the sidelines and let the democrats try to solve it. and so we got a lot of resistance very early. i think what's also true is that when you take on tough issues like health care or financial regulatory reform, where special interests are deeply entrenched, there's a lot of money at stake for them, and where the issues are so complicated that it drags
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on for a long time, you end up having a lot of big fights here in town. and it's messy. and it's frustrating. >> [inaudible] >> well -- and so there is no doubt that an option that was available to me when i came in was not to take on those issues. i mean, we could had decided, you know what, even though we know that the pace of accelerating health care costs is going to bankrupt this economy and bankrupt businesses and bankrupt individuals, and even though we know that there are 30 million people, and that's a growing number of people, who don't have health insurance, we could have said, you know what, that's just too controversial, let's not take it on. and we could have said with respect to financial regulatory reform, you know what, we're
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just going to get too much resistance from republicans, we shouldn't take that on. i don't think that's the kind of leadership that the american people would want from their president. and are there things that i might have done during the course of 18 months that would at the margins have improved some of the tone in washington? probably. is some of this just a core difference in approach in terms of how we move this forward between democrats and republicans? i'd say the answer is a lot more the latter. anne kornblut. >> thank you, mr. president. nine years after the september
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11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to increase -- to improve relations with the muslim world? >> i think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. and so i think that plays a role in it. one of the things that i most admired about president bush was after 9/11, him being crystal-clear about the fact that we were not at war with islam. we were at war with terrorists and murderers who had perverted
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islam, had stolen its banner to carry out their outrageous acts. and i was so proud of the country rallying around that idea, that notion that we are not going to be divided by religion; we're not going to be divided by ethnicity. we are all americans. we stand together against those who would try to do us harm. and that's what we've done over the last nine years. and we should take great pride in that. and i think it is absolutely important now for the overwhelming majority of the american people to hang on to that thing that is best in us, a belief in religious tolerance, clarity about who our enemies are -- our enemies are al qaeda and their allies who are trying to kill us, but have killed more muslims than just about
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anybody on earth. we have to make sure that we don't start turning on each other. and i will do everything that i can as long as i am president of the united states to remind the american people that we are one nation under god, and we may call that god different names but we remain one nation. and as somebody who relies heavily on my christian faith in my job, i understand the passions that religious faith can raise. but i'm also respectful that people of different faiths can
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practice their religion, even if they don't subscribe to the exact same notions that i do, and that they are still good people, and they are my neighbors and they are my friends, and they are fighting alongside us in our battles. and i want to make sure that this country retains that sense of purpose. and i think tomorrow is a wonderful day for us to remind ourselves of that. natasha mozgovaya of haaretz. is she here? natasha -- there you are back there. >> mr. president, back in the region, the palestinian and israeli leaders, they sound a bit less ready for this historic compromise. president abbas, for example, said the palestinians won't recognize israel as a jewish state. the question is, if these talks fail at an early stage, will this administration disengage?
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or maybe you're ready to step up and deepen your personal involvement. >> president abbas and prime minister netanyahu were here last week, and they came with a sense of purpose and seriousness and cordiality that, frankly, exceeded a lot of people's expectations. what they said was that they were serious about negotiating. they affirmed the goal of creating two states, living side by side in peace and security. they have set up a schedule where they're going to meet every two weeks. we are actively participating in that process. secretary of state hillary clinton will be flying to the middle east for the first
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series of next meetings on september 14th and 15th. and so what we've done is to bring the parties together to try to get them to recognize that the path for israeli security and palestinian sovereignty can only be met through negotiations. and these are going to be tough negotiations. there are enormous hurdles between now and our endpoint, and there are going to be a whole bunch of folks in the region who want to undermine these negotiations. we saw it when hamas carried out these horrific attacks against civilians -- and explicitly said, we're going to try to do this to undermine peace talks.
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there are going to be rejectionists who suggest that it can't happen, and there are also going to be cynics who just believe that the mistrust between the sides is too deep. we understood all that. we understood that it was a risk for us to promote these discussions. but it is a risk worth taking. because i firmly believe that it is in america's national security interests, as well as israel's national security interests, as well as in the interests of the palestinian people, to arrive at a peace deal. part of the reason that i think prime minister netanyahu was comfortable coming here was that he's seen, during the course of 18 months, that my administration is unequivocal in our defense of israel's security. and we've engaged in some unprecedented cooperation with israel to make sure that they
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can deal with any external threats. but i think he also came here understanding that to maintain israel as a jewish state that is also a democratic state, this issue has to be dealt with. i think president abbas came here, despite great misgivings and pressure from the other side, because he understood the window for creating a palestinian state is closing. and there are a whole bunch of parties in the region who purport to be friends of the palestinians and yet do everything they can to avoid the path that would actually lead to a palestinian state, would actually lead to their goal. and so the two parties need each other. that doesn't mean it's going to work. ultimately it's going to be up to them. we can facilitate; we can encourage; we can tell them that we will stand behind them in their efforts and are willing to contribute as part of the broader international community in making this work.
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but ultimately the parties have to make these decisions for themselves. and i remain hopeful, but this is going to be tough. and i don't want anybody out there thinking that it's going to be easy. the main point i want to make is it's a risk worth taking because the alternative is a status quo that is unsustainable. and so if these talks break down, we're going to keep on trying. over the long term, it has the opportunity, by the way, also to change the strategic landscape in the middle east in a way that would be very helpful. it would help us deal with an iran that has not been willing to give up its nuclear program. it would help us deal with terrorist organizations in the region. so this is something in our interest. we're not just doing this to feel good. we're doing it because it will help secure america as well.
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jake tapper. >> thank you, mr. president. a couple questions. first, were you concerned at all when you -- when the administration had secretary of defense gates call this pastor in florida that you were elevating somebody who is clearly from the fringe? and then more substantively, on health care reform, this is six months since health care passed. you pledged, a, that you would bend the cost curve, and b, that you democrats would be able to campaign on this. and cms reported yesterday that the cost curve is actually bending up, from 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent, post-health care legislation. and the only democrats i've seen talking about health care legislation are running tv ads saying that they voted against it.
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thank you. >> with respect to the individual down in florida, let me just say -- let me repeat what i said a couple of days ago. the idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for. it's contrary to what this country -- this nation was founded on. and my hope is, is that this individual prays on it and refrains from doing it. but i'm also commander-in- chief, and we are seeing today riots in kabul, riots in afghanistan, that threaten our young men and women in uniform. and so we've got an obligation to send a very clear message that this kind of behavior or
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threats of action put our young men and women in harm's way. and it's also the best imaginable recruiting tool for al qaeda. and although this may be one individual in florida, part of my concern is to make sure that we don't start having a whole bunch of folks all across the country think this is the way to get attention. this is a way of endangering our troops -- our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives who are sacrificing for us to keep us safe. and you don't play games with that. so i hardly think we're the ones who elevated this story. but it is, in the age of the internet, something that can cause us profound damage around the world, and so we've got to
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take it seriously. with respect to health care, what i said during the debate is the same thing i'm saying now and it's the same thing i will say three or four years from now. bending the cost curve on health care is hard to do. we've got hundreds of thousands of providers and doctors and systems and insurers. and what we did was we took every idea out there about how to reduce or at least slow the costs of health care over time. but i said at the time, it wasn't going to happen tomorrow, it wasn't going to happen next year. it took us decades to get into a position where our health care costs were going up 6, 7, 10
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percent a year. and so our goal is to slowly bring down those costs. now, we've done so also by making sure that 31 million people who aren't getting health insurance are going to start getting it. and we have now implemented the first phase of health care in a way that, by the way, has been complimented even by the opponents of health care reform. it has been smooth. and right now middle-class families all across america are going to be able to say to themselves, starting this month, if i've got a kid who is under 26 and doesn't have health insurance, that kid can stay on my health insurance. if i've got a child with a preexisting condition, an insurer can't deny me coverage. if i get sick and i've got health insurance, that insurance company can't arbitrarily drop my coverage. there are 4 million small
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businesses around the country who are already eligible and in some cases will be receiving a 35 percent tax break on health care for their employees. and i've already met small businesses around the country who say, because of that, i'm going to be able to provide health care for my employees, i thought it was the right thing to do. so -- >> -- the cms study from february predicted a 6.1 percent increase, and now, post-health care, 6.3 percent. so it seems to have bent it up. >> no, as i said, jake, the -- i haven't read the entire study. maybe you have. but if you -- if what -- the reports are true, what they're saying is, is that as a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs, we knew that. we didn't think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free, but that the long-term trend in terms of how
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much the average family is going to be paying for health insurance is going to be improved as a consequence of health care. and so our goal on health care is, if we can get, instead of health care costs going up 6 percent a year, it's going up at the level of inflation, maybe just slightly above inflation, we've made huge progress. and by the way, that is the single most important thing we could do in terms of reducing our deficit. that's why we did it. that's why it's important, and that's why we're going to implement it effectively. >> sorry, and then the house democrats running against health care -- if you could comment on that. >> well, there are -- we're in a political season where every candidate out there has their own district, their own makeup, their own plan, their own message. and in an environment where
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we've still got 9.5 percent unemployment, people are going to make the best argument they can right now. and they're going to be taking polls of what their particular constituents are saying, and trying to align with that oftentimes. that's how political races work. april ryan. >> thank you, mr. president. i want to ask a couple questions. on the economy, could you discuss your efforts at reviewing history as it relates to the poverty agenda, meaning lbj and dr. king? and also, since senate republicans are holding up the issue of cobell and pigford, too, can you make any assurances before you leave office that you will make sure that those awards are funded? >> let me take the second
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question first. for those who aren't familiar, cobell and pigford relate to settlements surrounding historic discrimination against minority farmers who weren't oftentimes provided the same benefits as everybody else under the usda. it is a fair settlement. it is a just settlement. we think it's important for congress to fund that settlement. we're going to continue to make it a priority. with respect to the history of fighting poverty, i got my start in public service as a community organizer working in the shadow steel plants that had been closed in some of the poorest neighborhoods on the south side of chicago.
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that's what led me to want to serve. and so i am constantly thinking about how do we create ladders for communities and individuals to climb into the middle class. now, i think the history of anti-poverty efforts is, is that the most important anti- poverty effort is growing the economy and making sure there are enough jobs out there -- single most important thing we can do. it's more important than any program we could set up. it's more important than any transfer payment that we could have. if we can grow the economy faster and create more jobs, then everybody is swept up into that virtuous cycle. and if the economy is shrinking and things are going badly, then the folks who are most vulnerable are going to be those poorest communities.
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so what we want to focus on right now is broad-based job growth and broad-based economic expansion. and we're doing so against some tough headwinds, because, as i said, we are coming out of a very difficult -- very difficult time. we've started to turn the corner but we're not there yet. and so that is going to be my central focus: how do i grow the economy? how do i make sure that there's more job growth? that doesn't mean that there aren't some targeted things we can do to help communities that are especially in need. and probably the most important thing we can do after growing the economy generally is how can we improve school systems in low-income communities. and i am very proud of the efforts that we've made on education reform -- which have received praise from democrats and republicans. this is one
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area where actually we've seen some good bipartisan cooperation. and the idea is very simple. if we can make sure that we have the very best teachers in the classroom, if we can reward excellence instead of mediocrity and the status quo, if we can make sure that we're tracking progress in real, serious ways and we're willing to make investments in what goes on in the classroom and not the school bureaucracy, and reward innovation, then schools can improve. there are models out there of schools in the toughest inner- city neighborhood that are now graduating kids, 90 percent of whom are going to college. and the key is how do we duplicate those? and so what our race to the top program has done is it's said to every state around the country, instead of just getting money based on a formula, we want you to compete.
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show us how you are reforming your school systems to promote excellence, based on proven ideas out there. and if you do that, we're going to reward you with some extra money. and just the competition alone has actually spurred 46 states so far to initiate legislation designed to reform the school system. so we're very proud of that, and that i think is going to be one of the most important things we can do. it's not just, by the way, k-12. it's also -- it's also higher education. and as a consequence of a battle that we had -- and it was a contentious battle -- in congress, we've been able to take tens of billions of dollars that were going to banks and financial intermediaries in the student loan program and said we're going to give that money directly to students so that they get more help going to college.
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and obviously poor kids are the ones who are going to benefit most from those programs. helene cooper. >> thank you, mr. president. two questions. one on afghanistan. how can you lecture hamid karzai about corruption when so many of these corrupt people are on the u.s. payroll? and on the middle east, do you believe that israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu should extend the settlement moratorium as a gesture to peace? and if he doesn't, what are you prepared to do to stop the palestinians from walking? >> okay. on afghanistan, we are in the midst of a very difficult but very important project. i just want to remind people
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why we're there -- the day before september 11th. we're there because that was the place where al qaeda launched an attack that killed 3,000 americans. and we want to make sure that we dismantle al qaeda, and that afghanistan is never again used as a base for attacks against americans and the american homeland. now, afghanistan is also the second poorest country in the world. it's got an illiteracy rate of 70 percent. it has a multiethnic population that mistrusts, oftentimes, each other. and it doesn't have a tradition of a strong, central government.
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so what we have done is to say we are going to, after seven years of drift, after seven years of policies in which, for example, we weren't even effectively training afghan security forces, what we've done is to say we're going to work with the afghan government to train afghan security forces so they can be responsible for their own security. we are going to promote a political settlement in the region that can help to reduce the violence. we are going to encourage a afghan government that can deliver services for its people. and we're going to try to make sure that as part of helping president karzai stand up a broadly accepted, legitimate government, that corruption is reduced. and we've made progress on some
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of those fronts. i mean, when it comes to corruption, i'll just give you an example. four years ago, afghan judges in the legal system were indicted for corruption. this year, 86 of them were indicted for corruption. we have seen afghan-led efforts that have gone after police commanders, significant business people in afghanistan. but we are long way from where we need to beyond that. every time i talk with president karzai, i say, as important as it is for us to help you train our military and your police forces, the only way that you are going to have a stable government over the long term as if the afghan people feel that you are looking after them.
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that means making sure that the tradition of corruption in the government is reduced. we are going to keep on putting pressure on him on that front. is it going to happen overnight? probably not. are there going to be occasions where we look and see some of our folks on the ground have made compromises with people who are known to have engaged in corruption? we are reviewing all of that constantly. there may be occasions when that happens. right, you're certainly helene, that we are not sending mixed messages here. one of the things that i have said to my national security is to be consistent. -- let's be consistent in terms of how we are cross-agencies. that is not be seen giving a
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week and an eye to corruption. if we said publicly that that is important, then our actions have to match up across the board. but it is a challenging environment in which to do that. with respect to prime minister netanyahu and the middle east, a major bone of contention during the course of this month will be the potential lapse of the settlement moratorium. the irony is that, when prime minister netanyahu put that moratorium in place, the palestinians were skeptical. they said, this does not do anything. it turns out that, to prime minister netanyahu is credit and israel's credit, the moratorium has had actual significance. it has significantly reduced settlement construction in the region.
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that is why they say, even though we were not that keen on it at first we thought it was just window dressing, it turns out that this is important to us. what i have said to prime minister netanyahu is that, given so far the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend that moratorium so long as the talks are moving in a constructive way. ultimately, the way to solve these problems is for the two sides to agree, would visit quantity, is real? what will be the state of palestine? if you can get that agreement, then you can start constructing anything that the people of israel see fit in and disputed areas.
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-- in the undisputed areas. there are members of his coalition who have said, we do not want to continue this. one of the things that i have thatto president the bosabbas s you have to show the israeli public that you are serious and constructive in these talks so that the politics for prime minister netanyahu, if he were to extend the settlements moratorium, it would be a little easier. one of the goals that i think i have set for myself and for my team is to make sure that president abbas and prime minister netanyahu start thinking about how can they help the other succeed, as opposed to how do they figure out a way for the other two failed.
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if they are going to be successful in bringing about is theey now agree best course of action for their people, they need to see the world through the other person's eyes. that requires a personal relationship and building trust. hopefully, these meetings will help do that. ann compton. >> mr. president, what does it say about the status of the american system of justice when some many of those who are thought to be plotters for september 11 or accused of suspected terrorism are still awaiting any kind of trial? why are you still convinced that a civilian trial is correct for clique shake muhammed? why has that stalled -- for
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kahlik sheik mohammed? why has that stalled? >> we have succeeded in delivering elecampane promises that we made. one where we have fallen short is closing guantanamo. i wanted to close it sooner. we have missed that deadline. it is not for lack of trying. it is because the politics of it are difficult. i am absolutely convinced that the american justice system is strong enough, that we should be able to convict people who murdered innocent americans, who carried out terrorist attacks against us. we should be able to lock them up and make sure that they do not see the light of day.
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we can do that. we have done it before. we have people who engaged in terrorist attacks who are in our prisons, maximum-security prisons, all across the country. but this is an issue that has generated a lot of political -- .icrhetoric people, understandably, are fearful. but one of the things that is worth reflecting on after 9/11 is that this country so resilience. we are so tough. we cannot be frightened by a handful of people who are trying to do less harm, especially when we capture them and we have the goods on them. i have also said that there will be circumstances where a
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military tribunal may be appropriate. the reason for that, i will give a specific example. there may soon to predict there may be situations where somebody was captured in theater -- there may be situations where somebody was captured in theater and is now at guantanamo. it is hard to piece together a chain of evidence that would be required in an article 3 court. but we know that this person is guilty. there is sufficient evidence to bring about a conviction. so what i have said is that the military commission system that where appropriate for certain individuals that would make it difficult for article 3 courts for a range of reasons, we can reform that system so that it meets the
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highest standards of due process and prosecute them there. so i am prepared to work with the democrats and republicans. and we, over the course of the last year, have been in constant conversations, about setting up a sensible system in which we are prosecuting where appropriate those in article 3 courts. we are uproot -- we are prosecuting those where a proper it in a military tribunal. we put them in military prisons where our track record shows they have never escaped. from a purely fiscal point of view, the costs of holding folks in guantanamo is massively higher than it is holding them in a super maximum security prison here in the united states.
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>> what about kahlik shiek muhammed? will that trial ever happen? >> i think it needs to happen. this will be on a bipartisan basis to move this forward in a way that is consistent with our standards of due process, consistent with our constitution, consistent also with our image in the world of a country that cares about the rule of law. you cannot underestimate the impact of that. al qaeda operatives still cite guantanamo as a justification for attacks against the united states. still, to this day, that is so. there is no reason for us to give them that kind of talking point. we can use the various mechanisms of our justice system to prosecute these folks and
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make sure that they never attack us again. ok. said henry. >> you talk about some of the al qaeda leaders you have captured. when you have not is osama bin laden. tomorrow will be the ninth year since americans were killed. the last administration had seven years and could not do it. what you said as president- elect, use of capturing osama bin laden is a critical step in setting out al qaeda. he is not just a symbol, but the leader of an organization planning attacks on the u.s. do you still believe that it is a critical policy to capture or kill him. you campaigned saying that you would run a smarter war on terror. you have not captured him. you do not seem to know where he
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is. >> capturing or killing the layton would be extremely important to our national security. -- capturing or killing been laden would be extremely important to our national security. we have put the pressure on al qaeda and their leaders. as a consequence, they have been holed up and making it harder for them to operate. as a consequence, some of the layton has gone deep underground. -- osama bin laden has gone deep underground. but we have the best minds, the best intelligence officers, the best special forces who are thinking about this day and
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night. they will continue to think about it day and night as long as i am president. >> do you think americans will face another nine years of this terrorist threat, another generation? >> here's what i think. in this day and age, there is always going to be the potential for an individual or a small group of individuals, if they're willing to die to kill other people, some of them will be well-organized and some of them will be random. that threat is there. it is important for the american people to understand that. not to live in fear, but it is the reality of today's world that there will be threats out there.
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we have greatly improve our homeland security since 9/11 occurred. i am constantly impressed with the dedication that our teams apply through this problem. they are chasing down every threat, not just from al qaeda, but from every other actor out there that may be engaging in terrorism. they are making sure that even what might appear to be a lone individual who has very little organizational capacity, if they make a threat, the follow-up. but one of the things that i want to make sure we do, as long as i am president and beyond my presidency, is understand america's strength and part comes from its resilience and
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that we do not start losing who we are or overreacting if, in fact, there is the threat of terrorism out there. we go about our business. we are tougher than them. our families and our businesses , our churches and mosques and synagogues, our constitution and our values, that is what gives us our strength. we are going to have this problem out there for a long time to come, but it does not have to completely dominate us or our foreign policy. we can just constantly fight against it. ultimately, we will be able to stamp it out. but it will take some time. >> [unintelligible] >> wendell. >> thank you, mr. president.
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i wonder if i could get you to weigh in on building -- on the wisdom of building a mosque near ground zero. what would it say about this country if they were talked out of doing that? have not the florida minister's threat to burn a couple hundred copies of the koran itself put american lives in danger? >> on your second question, there is no doubt that, when someone goes out of their way to be provocative in ways that we passionsinflatinflame the of 1 million muslims around the world at a time when we have our troops and a lot of muslim countries, that is a problem. it has made life a lot more difficult for our men and women
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in uniform who already have a very difficult job. with respect to the mosque in new york, i think i have been pretty clear on my position. that is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights. one of those in alienable rights is to practice their religious freedom. but that means is that, if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a side, if you could build a hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site. i recognize the extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11.
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i have met with families of 9/11 victims in the past. i can only imagine that the continuing pain and anguish and sense of loss that they may go through. and tomorrow, we, as americans, will be joining them in prayer and remembers. -- and remembrance. but i go back to what i said earlier. we are not at war against islam. we are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted is long or falsely used the banner of islam to engage in their destructive acts. we have to be clear about that. we have to be clear about that because, if we are going to deal with the problems that ed henry was talking about, if we are going to successfully reduced the terrorist threat, then we need all the allies we can get.
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the folks who are most interested in a war between the united states or the west and islam are al qaeda. that is what they have been banking on. fortunately, the overwhelming majority of muslims around the world are peace-loving, are interested in the same things that you and i are interested in. how can i make sure that i can get a good job? how can i make sure that my kids get a decent education? how can i enjoy my faith? how can i improve my lot in life? they have rejected this violent ideology for the most part. overwhelmingly. from a national security interest, we want to be clear about who the enemy is here. it is a handful of tiny minority of people who are in
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speaking -- who are engaging in horrific acts and have killed muslims more than anybody else. another reason it is important for us to remember that is because we have millions of muslim-americans, our fellow citizens in this country, they are going to school with our kids. they are all our neighbors. they are our friends. they are our co-workers. when we start acting as if their religion is some how offensive, what are we saying to them? i have muslims who are fighting in afghanistan, in the uniform of the united states armed services. they are out there putting their lives on the line for us.
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and we have to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sake and their six. they are americans. and we honor their service -- for our sakes and their sakes. they are americans. and we honor their service. we do not lead -- we do not differentiate between them and us. it is just us. that is a principle that i think is good to be very important for us to sustain. i think tomorrow is an excellent time for us to reflect on that. thank you very much, everybody. thank you very much, everybody. >> next, a report on health
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terrorist threats have changed since 9/11. after that, the transportation secretary outlines regulations concerning pilot fatigue. then, center jim webb talks about legislation designed to help veterans. live tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., michele obama and laura bush joined secretary salazar in commemorating the flight 93 memorial. then live at 2:00, air-traffic controllers and other aviation officials to talk about their experiences on 9/11. that is tomorrow on c-span. also on saturday, president obama attends a memorial service at the pentagon. we will screen that live on c- span.org. >> we need our border secured.
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we cannot afford illegal immigration. >> it has hurt the arizona economy tremendously. >> with the midterm election 50 days away, follow the campaigns online at the c-span video library. it is easy to find the candidates and issues any time all three on your computer. >> the new report finds that terrorist threats or even more difficult to detect and they were before 9/11. the report also notes that a growing number of citizens or training for terrorist activities abroad. the report called from an organization. this is about 45 minutes. about 4
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we are at the bipartisan solutions to the nation's problems. i would like to introduced mr. kaine. >> thank you, michael, and good morning. we are here again, preparing for another anniversary of 9/11, preparing to mourn with the families, to look at what happened in the past, to remember, but also to look forward. part of that looking forward is to reassess what the threat is today, how we are doing. are we doing any better than we were before? has the threat changed in any way? that is what we want to talk about today.
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this is a very important time to reassess, to reexamine, to look at what this threat is. we have met now with all leaders of national security in this administration. we have heard from people who led the national security efforts in the past. we're trying to formulate what the country should do, what we should be aware of, and what we should -- and where we should go. in that context, this is a very important day. the report we will present today is looking for, is looking at where the threat has changed, and at the kinds of things we may have to do and the ways that women have to change as a nation in order to meet that threat. at this point, i would like to introduce my partner, my friend , washington's other national monument, lee hamilton, who has
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been so instrumental in national security and in some any of the ways in this town. lee, if you'll take it from here -- >> good morning to all of you. thank you very much for coming. it is good to be with governor kaine again. we have conducted a good many of these over time of several years. i step forward simply because i want to recognize the members of the national security prepared this group. we will turn to bruce hoffman -- national security preparedness group. we will turn to bruce hoffman. they put together this report. i know you want to hear from verse. i think bruce intends to summarize the report briefly and then he, john, and steve will take your questions. tom and i will kick in if we can. -- will chip in if we can.
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we have assembled and remarkable group of people with regard to their backgrounds in national security and homeland security. they are a real group of experts. john dannon is one of the experts here. he has had a very long and distinguished career in the intelligence community. he now works at bae systems as one of their trusted advisers. our group includes fred townsend, who worked in the white house on homeland security matters. that includes the former secretary of dhs, governor of pennsylvania, tom ridge. it also includes former energy secretary, spencer abraham. we have two former attorney general and the group. dick former guard and ed meese. we have former members jim
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turner, david kirby, and dave beckmann. put all these people together and you have a pretty good group to assess where our government stands with regard to national security preparedness. we believe that this assessment that is being released today -- and burress will describe it to you in just a few minutes -- is a very important document. i do not think i have seen anything quite like it. i have not seen all of the things that come out of government, but i have seen a good many of them. you'll see that it gives a very fresh perspective on the threat that we confront from al qaeda. our focus today is on this paper and the evolving threat from al qaeda. in the future, we will explore other aspects of homeland
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security and national security preparedness. but today, the focus will be on the report. so, burress, to get this into this report, we ask -- so, bruce, to give us into this report, we ask you to step forward. >> all right. before i begin, i want to first thank very warmly and appreciatively the bipartisan center, especially the executive director michael allen, whose support throughout this entire project was absolutely critical and essential. i would also like to thank the other members of the group, the chair and the co-chair, who were selected ably. unfortunately, my co-author peter bergman is not here. this report clearly benefited from peter, who is not only the leading expert on al qaeda and
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has not only written a book, but two books on osama bin laden. he is also a magnificent editor who greatly improved this product. to any of you who are familiar with either peters or my work, we came at it from two perspectives and complemented one another with the expertise of the group. we produce something that is rather important. it would have been impossible without the assistance of katherine tutor men who took what peter and i had written, --know that it together, melded it together, and came up with this document that you have before you. instead of summarizing, let me 0 win briefly on the key or most
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-- let me 0 in -- let me zero in briefly on the key or most important elements. we thought it was appropriate to do a complete threat assessment, an assessment of the threat. also significant is the three long years since the last publicly disseminated u.s. government threat assessment. this was the national intelligence assessment produced by the national intelligence council in july 2007. it was important to establish a foundation or baseline assessment of the threat as it exists today. more importantly, how it has evolved and changed since both the 9/11 commission report and the assessment from three years ago. fortunately, we have had wide
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access to an array of single policy makers across the united states government to were open and frank with us and generously offered their thoughts and their opinions. this, of course, was supplemented by the ongoing research that peter bergman and i have conducted on this phenomenon. the fundamental conclusion is that the threat is both a diversified and has become much more complex than it has been at anytime since the attacks of september 11, 2001. equally of concern is the fact that there is no single profile of the terrorist threat in the united states today. what we see as an adversary that is drawn from all sectors of society and all walks of life. we -- this includes persons born in afghanistan, pakistan, somalia, residents and naturalized american citizens. in the past few years, also, we have seen american citizens
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themselves, people born in the united states also gravitating and being summoned to the call of terrorism, in this case, g hyde. we have discovered perpetrators are the people -- in this case, and jihad. we have discovered perpetrators are the people that have been men and women, young and old, high school dropouts or petiteds, and bemba's, blue-eyed blonde who can easily in as well as hardened terrorist operatives.
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subsequently, we have continued to carry out reconnaissance for future terrorist attacks on behalf of al qaeda, other pakistani jihadist groups, and others. the leadership of the terrorist movements that are in the united states are becoming increasingly americanized. key operatives, whether it is someone in al qaeda central, someone in the al qaeda arabian peninsula, or in of chabad, a somali colleague. the world 3 born in the united states, turning on their country, going abroad, making common cause with terrorists. that is something we found
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fundamentally disquieting. finally, we concluded that the threats of the past year or so are not and should not be regarded as one off as we were often told. rather, we see them as part of a broader strategy embraced by our adversaries to flood us, in essence, with multiple threats from a diverse array of adversaries. we found, too, that the united states has failed to adequately in a stand and prepare for these threats. there was a prevailing conviction that existed long past its shelf life that he could not happen here, that the communities in the united states from which terrorists we thought would draw their recruits have become more affluent and elsewhere, particularly in the united kingdom and europe.
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we thought to the american melting pot would provide a fire wall for recruiting in this country. now we are confronted with an alarming trend. the threat we concluded is more complex, more diverse than what we have encountered in any time since september 11, 2001. an important challenge that we discovered is that there is no single government agency responsible for identifying radicalization and interdicting recruitment. the problem is that, if it is everybody's responsibility in the end, it is no one's. moreover, we found that it is not even clear which agency, amongst the large array of agencies, which one should have the lead responsibility. -- the lead responsibility for countering radicalization and recruitment. thus, terrorists may have found our achilles' heel. we have no strategy for dealing
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with this growing problem. the array of recent terrorist recruits presents greater challenges to the intelligence community and -- presence new and credit houses to the intelligence committee. they have to run down this new panoply it of threats. we found that the threat facing the united states is different than it was nine years ago. it has also changed and evolved profoundly since the 9/11 commission presented its report six long years ago. today, the u.s. faces a dynamic threat with a broad array of potential attacks, from shootings to car bombs, to simultaneous suicide attacks, to in-flight passenger aircraft attacks.
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this is cause for concern. thank you very much. >> steve, do you want to say something? >> thank you appeared i am the present for the -- thank you. i am the president for the center for national policy. just a couple of things i would like to highlight, particularly from a homeland security perspective about what i think we should infer from their key finding. they have given us a very uncomfortable finding. i think it is uncomfortable for the american people, but also for our national security and intelligence community as well. there are many who are drawn to this cause and have essentially made a strategic shift against from the spectacular attacks like this on september 11 and a consensus that many of us have
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to equal or better that attack, to one where less is more. less sophisticated attacks connected more frequently would have a bigger bang for the block. the bar for carrying out these attacks is much lower. you do not need as highly capable people. you do not need to put together a very sophisticated conspiracy. the more sophisticated attacks have an upside. their complexity often trips waters off that allows us to intercept them. much smaller scale attacks, particularly when drawn from domestic recruits, are almost impossible for our national security intelligence community, as it is currently constructed, to detect and intercept it. as a practical matter, it means that we would certainly have a successful terrorist attacks on u.s. soil and we have to start to come to grips with that.
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the important finding is that there is not likely to have a 9/11 scale. we will see the kinds of things we saw recently in new york, in times square, an american nationalize citizen who, drawn to the cause, goatgets training abroad and returns to new york city. the most important thing about * -- the new york times were event is that it was done by a t-shirt vendor on the corner. one of the people we did convene with was the commissioner of l.a. what -- of nypd literally, across the street, there was a squad car. that was not the detection
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point. it was an ordinary citizen who detected the problem. we have operated on focusing energy and efforts to keep them from our shores so that we can lead our daily lives confident that it will not be on our shores. that is not how the threat is today. it has evolved much more with a domestic component. it still has overseas elements. but our intelligence community is not adapting as much as any to for this threat. there are up to 50,000 public safety it agencies who will be on the front line of this threat. most important, it would be the everyday citizens. the christmas day but that was not stopped by the federal air marshal. it was stopped by the passengers
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of the airplane. the times square attack was detected by a t-shirt vendor. the threat is much different today than it was nine years ago. our national security and intelligence committee needs to adapt to that. as the american people, we need to as well. i welcome the work of bruce hoffman and peter bergman for bringing this very important finding to the american people. i hope that we take this action soon. >> i want to join in the applause for this paper. i think it is a very thoughtful, insightful, and provocative piece of work. i hope it will stimulate the larger public debate on the important issues that it raises. for someone who spent most of my adult life in the intelligence community and in the analytic
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world, and focus on the issue of radicalization -- i focus on the issue of radicalization. from my you point, is an issue of globalization. our adversaries have a much easier time in the era of globalization in moving people and moving finance and moving capabilities and destructive know how across our borders. i think this paper makes it clear that they also move cultural information across borders. cultural information, they're not just from places we would expect, from the east and south asia, but from our own. the imperative that comes from this is the need to recognize analysis and integrate foreign and domestic intelligence analysis more than any time in our history. this is an absolute imperative for us if we are going to deal with the issue of radicalization. i think the paper also makes
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clear that intelligence analysis is not just a matter of taking human intelligence and imagery analysis and pulling them together. it is much more important today if we will understand the nature of terrorism by putting more cultural information into the context of the analysis we do. that means understanding the culture from which the terrorists, and also our own culture and how is -- from which the terrorists come and also our own culture and how is represented in it. there will be a conference on domestic intelligence at the willard hotel. the new dni will be there along with the director and others from the intelligence community. we will discuss the elements that this paper raised. i look forward to that. i hope many of you will join us
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for that conference. thank you. >> at this point, we would be glad to answer any more of your questions. >> you mentioned that there is no one organization responsible for looking at the domestic threat and handling it. some might think that that would be the role of dhs. where does the responsibility lie? what is your recommendation on how this should be conducted? >> that is a subject of the next report. to put it simply, we thought that this report stood on its own. but it turned out to be far more weighty than we thought it would be. we decided that the group really needs to be focused its attention -- needs to focus its attention on that in the next few months.
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>> the report on commercial threat. is the man againsbigget how effective have the efforts been, both since 9/11 and more recently with the advanced machine technology, to stop the threats that you talk about? >> the problem i think is that, our adversaries, despite all of our detections for technological sophistication, the organization of our government to detect commercial aviation threats, this is a high-value target, one that can not only generate a mother lode of publicity and attention, but also one that
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soaks worldwide fear, that radiate beyond the target nation of the attack. it has a profound impact on the globalized economy, on international travel. one of the things we talk about in the report is that al qaeda and in particular focus on economic targets. they believe that is fundamentally how they win. they do not claim they will be this in the battlefield. they understand the fundamental symmetry of terrorism. they seek to bankrupt us and our allies. one of the key vehicles to do so is turning commercial aviation -- is targeting commercial aviation and cause the paralysis that they hope will cause the paralysis that we saw in the weeks after 9/11. but your question goes right to the heart of the report.
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this is the main challenge that we face in countering this threat. this threat does not come from one adversary in one place with one set or one tool box of capabilities. we see a variety of adversaries with different capabilities and that each pose unique and separate threats. we have to, in effect, as we go into the second decade of the century, go defend the waterfront. on metro's, on subways, on buses, the way we have seen them in other countries, they go back to the same targets because of the value in having catastrophic impact from that attack. >> the key is that the data tells us that commercial aviation continues to be a target and there continues to be planning their. the court's finding of this is that, nine years later, the
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adversary has a strategy that has adapted significantly. other parts of the infrastructure remain in the cross hairs of future terrorists. the expectation is that, by targeting these, they can get a big bang for our their boouck. if we have an attack on a mass transit system and our current efforts have shown as one thing, then we have a political reaction, often with very expensive kinds of and not very well thought out cures that continued to motivate. that is another finding in here. to some extent, the strategy has adapted because they are motivated by how we react to acts of terrorism. it is -- we do very expensive things or very destructive things for our economy or our
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civil liberties. that is a motivator. in the panel, we will look at how do we do much better at managing terrorist attacks when they happen if they take on these various other modes of transportation? >> is this just security theater or is it helping? >> we did not, as a panel, lookit that. there's no question that the impulse -- look at that. there is no question that the impulse was to startle the public. more studies need to be done to see if those tools will work effectively or if we need to look in another direction and have more tools for. this is not entirely well thought out when it was executed. that is part of the problem. we often rea

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